I’m Not Dying with You Tonight Review

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started off a bit weak but overall, I think it finished pretty strong. I liked how it was kind of like a female version of All American Boys and having just read that one, I’m going to compare the two below so expect spoilers for both. I think this book was really good, especially for two debut authors and I only had a few comments on how to improve, no complaints really though.
Spoilers Below
Now, I know it is already October 23rd and I’m supposed to be reading Halloween books by now, but I promise my next one will be about Halloween… Probably… Maybe… Anyway! I have had this ARC sitting around since I got it at BookCon and even though it is already out (kind of defeating the purpose of my having the ARC) I thought now was a good time to read it, especially since I just read the very similar book All American Boys… Here are my thoughts.
To be truthful, I wasn’t a big fan of Campbell. In the beginning she seemed a bit whiney to me, but overtime I got a bit used to her and understood a bit more. I definitely liked and identified with Lena more though. Seriously, Lena was awesome! I loved her spirit and how she didn’t let anyone treat her how she shouldn’t be treated… Well… except for Black, but I’ll get to him later. I really think Lena and Campbell made a great team too; they really balanced each other out. I loved seeing how they each stood up for each other over the course of the night.
There were a few characters that made me super mad in this book (but in a good way). The first was Campbell’s teacher! UGH! How could she just leave Campbell like that? If Campbell had gotten hurt or worse had died, the teacher would be sued! I cannot understand how she could be so negligent. The other person I was mad at was Campbell’s dad’s manager. How could he leave her store??? He was the manager!!! I just don’t get it! Seriously, it’s his fault they were looted because he was biased as to which store was more important. Thank god Campbell’s dad had insurance though.
The story pace in the novel was also very well done. Usually with debut authors it can be a bit unstable or unbalanced, but these two ladies aced the story balancing. I loved how there were small moments of ‘semi’ calm in between the loud riot moments, such as when the girls were walking thru the dangerous part of town, and while they were hiding in their store’s manager’s parent’s shop. Bravo to the authors on that!
I was also not expecting the end at all! I thought that the big shebang was the riot scene at the end with all the cops, but no! I never saw that extra bit coming! I cannot believe Black’s friends looted Campbell’s store. Seriously it was a great twist and it was also really well hid. I thought that the guy didn’t want Campbell coming over to the truck because he was hiding something illegal, but not her store’s products! Wow! That one caught me totally off guard. And! The face off at the end was super suspenseful too! Although…. I was not much of a fan of Campbell and Lena hiding behind Black, come on ladies! You can protect yourselves just fine on your own; you just survived an entire riot!
Anyway, on the topic of Black, I was kind of surprised by his tiny character arc. I would have liked to see a bit more of it, but I definitely feel him picking Lena and Campbell over his friends was a giant step up from where he was. Still! Do not take this as a confirmation that I liked his character. Before his character arc, I was ready to hotly write this review on how Lena had to dump him and move on because he was just the worst! But now, I guess I’m willing to give him another chance and since I think there might be a sequel that will be the perfect place. Sadly, I would have to see a huge change to impact how I feel about him because for the moment, I still think Lena should dump him.
When I started this book, I was a bit skeptical. The beginning was weak and I feel like the authors dumped too much of Campbell’s backstory on us and should have kept it to reveal later. However, they were able to pick things back up when the fight started. I also became a bit skeptical at the end right before the showdown scene. I thought the riot was the big shebang and I was actually a bit disappointed. Thankfully the authors came thru on that one too. Really, I cannot help but congratulate them on the awesome debut novel they wrote! Great job guys!
My only comment on how to improve the book would have been to add two last chapters that take place maybe a few days later in the book, when the two girls are back at school. I think the way it ended now was a bit sad and I think if we could have had a scene where Campbell and Lena meet up again and maybe Lena invites Campbell to sit with her and her friends, that would have tipped this book into the amazing category whereas right not it’s in the great category.
Lastly, my comparison between All American Boys and I’m not Dying with you Tonight. These two books were very similar and at first I was positive which one I liked better, but now after thinking about it for a while, I’m not sure. These two are kind of like a gender swapped version of a similar story but I’m not Dying with you Tonight has much more action in it. I like how in All American Boys the main characters didn’t meet until the end, but in this book I liked how they became kind of best friends in one night. If I had to choose though, I’d have to say I liked All American Boys just a tad better than this one, because I’m Not Dying with You Tonight left me just a bit unsatisfied. I still liked this book a lot though.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it was a nice add on to have just read All American Boys and compare the two. I think so far this book has not had much hype, but it definitely deserves some. I recommend it completely.

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